I know it seems like common sense, but if you buy a ticket for a haunted attraction, aren’t you paying to be scared? Not if you’re Scott Griffin.
Back in 2011, Griffin went through the Haunted Hotel in San Diego, California. For those unfamiliar, the Haunted Hotel actually runs three separate attractions, including the Haunted Trail, where the incident took place. As Griffin passed through the marked exit, he thought the coast was clear. That was until a character with a chainsaw jumped out in front of him, scaring him and causing him to start running. In the haunt business, this is called the “Carrie” effect, named after the iconic Stephen King movie where the audience is made to believe the scares are over.
As many of us know who have attended dozens of haunts over the years, that’s not often the case. As Griffin started running away from the chainsaw (which naturally had no chain for safety reasons), he fell down and injured his wrist. Here’s the best part: he believed that Haunted Hotel was responsible for his injury.
According to the claim which recently reached a California court room, Griffin says that any scares that happen beyond the exit can be perceived as real danger. Further, he believes that Haunted Hotel shouldn’t train their actors to scare people beyond the marked exit.
It gets better. Haunted Hotel says that the marked exit of the haunted trail was not real and in fact, there to give you a false sense of security. Furthermore, on the website for the attraction 2011, it clearly states: “Our creatures will not grab you, however, they may accidentally bump into you. Oh, you will be scared sh–less and try to run away, but in the end our creatures will chase you down like the chickens that you are!”
It also goes on in the Frequently Asked Questions section: “You will not be grabbed or pushed,” and warned, “Running is the main cause of minor injuries. Make sure to follow the rules and DON’T run and you should be fine!”
The judge threw out Griffin’s case while citing inherent risk. What matters most here (at least in California) is that injuries that occur as a result of being at a particular type of attraction are not the fault of the owner. This doesn’t mean haunt owners can’t be sued. One has to prove that the injury put a paying customer in unreasonable harmful situation.
Haunted Hotel claimed that somewhere between 10 to 15 people had also fallen as a result of being chased by the chainsaw exit character, but none reported their injuries to management.
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Photos are not of Haunted Hotel and are Copyright Theme Park University, Universal Studios, Martini Avenue